Anti-independence New Caledonian politician will not cooperate with French National Assembly

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A senior New Caledonian politician has ruled out any further cooperation with the president of the French National Assembly Yael Braun-Pivet on the question of New Caledonia’s future.

Nicolas Metzdorf, who holds one of New Caledonia’s two Assembly seats in Paris, was reacting after being asked not to attend a reception last week held for New Caledonia’s pro-independence delegates.

Metzdorf, who belongs to the anti-independence camp, said Braun-Pivet’s assistant told him to stay away despite him being part of the special Assembly contact group on New Caledonia.

He said Braun-Pivet had been acting in accordance with the wishes of the pro-independence delegates who refused to meet anti-independence leaders in France.

Metzdorf said apart from the personal humiliation for being treated like a second rate Assembly member, Braun-Pivet ignored the convention pertaining to the work of the contact group.

Last week, the rival pro- and anti-independence parties held separate talks with French government ministers, including Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne, on the way forward after the conclusion of the referendum process in 2021.

The pro-independence side largely abstained from the third and last vote because of the pandemic and refuses to recognise the result as the legitimate outcome of the decolonisation process.

The anti-independence parties want the next talks with the French government, planned for June, to be trilateral.

The pro-independence parties have to date insisted on negotiating only with France about a path to sovereignty.

Last year, Braun-Pivet was made the overseas minister, but she resigned after a month in office to become the president of the National Assembly.

SOURCE: RNZ PACIFIC/PACNEWS